I’ve been experimenting with different ways to set down my initial draft for the new chapters I’ve written. An articles from my favourite website The Writer’s Store helped me develop the new style. Although the article is concerned with screen writing the method suit my style for novel writing. It could be that I just happen to think in visual terms anyway – I’m weird like that – but it seems to me that screen writing techniques transfer very well to modern novel writing especially as everyone is so familiar with TV, computer games and DVDs. I think fiction needs to work visually in the mind of the reader.
The article concerns itself with producing the ‘Extended Brief’[http://www.writersstore.com/article.php?articles_id=525]. This is a scene by scene summary written in the present tense. It needs to include full descriptions of every scene, setting, prop, and character. Including every character’s dialogue, emotions, thoughts and aims, and cover all the senses (touch, feel, smell, sight, sound). It doesn’t matter if the detail is relevant to the story or not at this stage the idea is to pack in as much information about the scene as possible. When you come to write your first draft you cherry pick the details relevant to the story and convert to your chosen tense. Using this method helps me to remain flexible and get a good feel for each scene without having ‘committed it to paper’. It also helps me work out the cause and effect between each scene without having to cut too much when it’s wrong, because it’s only a summary. The first time I tried it I was surprised by how few details I left out of my first draft. It also improved my active writing no end.
Does anyone else use anything similar?